Scotland's happy patients are 'testament to GPs' hard work'

High patient satisfaction with GPs in Scotland is 'a testament to the hard work of GPs', but standards must be maintained, Scotland's GPC chairman Dr Dean Marshall has said.

Dr Marshall: ‘These results are a testament to the hard work of GPs and their practice teams'
Dr Marshall: ‘These results are a testament to the hard work of GPs and their practice teams'

Good or excellent ratings of GP care were given by 89% of patients in Scotland in the Scottish government’s patient experience survey of GP and local NHS services 2011/12.

But there was a 1% reduction in patients responding positiv­ely about the treatment rec­eived from their GP, compared with the 2009/10 survey. This year 2% of patients gave it a poor or very poor rating and a further 9% rated it as fair.

This year’s survey, which was completed by 145,569 people, found that 90% of patients said they had enough time with their GP.

Dr Marshall said: ‘General practice is very much the cornerstone of the NHS in Scotland and these results are a testament to the hard work of GPs and their practice teams.

‘We must ensure that our standards do not slip. For the 11% who were not pleased with their care, we must consider how we can improve.’

The response rate to the survey, sent to 605,896 patients, was 24%. The survey is carried out annually, but last year not all 1,000 GP practices in Scotland were surveyed, as they were this year and in 2009/10.

This year’s survey asked pat­ients for the first time about referrals. Among those referred by their GP to another NHS professional, 76% rated the ‘ref­erral arrangements’ as excellent or good and 8% rating it as poor or very poor.

For out-of-hours services, 72% of patients who used the service rated the care received as good or excellent. But 11% rated it as poor or very poor.

As with the 2009/10 survey, the most negative results relate to GP access. This year, 20% of patients said they were unable to make an appointment with a GP three or more working days in advance. Dr Marshall said this could be the result of an increase in complex cases and called for resources to follow the shift of work from secondary to primary care.

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